Aviation of World War II

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Hs 130 ✙
High Altitude Reconnaissance Aircraft

Hs 130 E-0

The tests of the high-altitude experimental aircraft Hs 128, carried out by the Henschel company in 1938, made it possible to conclude that it was possible to create a reconnaissance aircraft capable of operating at altitudes that were not accessible to all fighters in the world at that time. The terms of reference for the development of such an aircraft was issued to the Henschel company in 1939, and the first flight of a prototype of the new aircraft Hs 130A took place already in 1940. The features of this aircraft included a pressurized cabin with a set of equipment for ensuring the crew's activities at high altitude, a wing large sweep and powerful twelve-cylinder DB 605E engines with a capacity of 1475 hp. from. With these engines, the aircraft was able to climb to an altitude of 13,900 m, and its maximum speed was 460 km / h. The aircraft's crew consisted of two people, with the pilot and the observer sitting side by side. To provide a better view in the forward fuselage on the right, there was additional glazing. The Hs 130A-0 aircraft produced in a small series were similar to the prototype Hs 130A, but had RB 75/30 aerial cameras, the operation of which was controlled remotely from the cockpit.

In 1941, the Hs 130C-0 high-altitude bomber was developed on the basis of the Hs 130A-0. It had two radial fourteen-cylinder BMW 801TJ engines with a capacity of 2000 hp from. Each engine was equipped with a turbocharging system that ensured the required altitude even when flying with a bomb load of up to 2000 kg. Defensive armament consisted of four 13-mm MG 131 machine guns mounted in two mobile remote-controlled rifle installations.

After lengthy tests of the Hs 130C-0 bomber, the opinion prevailed in the Ministry of Aviation that the plane would still be better used in the version of a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. Henschel redesigned the aircraft again, increasing its wingspan to 33 meters and equipping a compartment for aerial cameras with remote control in the forward fuselage. The power plant of this aircraft, which had the designation Hs 130E-0, consisted of two DB 603C engines with a capacity of 1750 hp. from each and a 1475-horsepower DB 605T engine mounted in the fuselage with a turbocharger, which provided air supply to the main engines during flights at altitudes up to 15,100 m.

Tests of the aircraft were carried out in 1943, based on their results, it was decided to launch the Hs 130E-0 into mass production, but only eight machines were actually produced, since the production of DB 605T engines was sharply limited. However, these aircraft also played a role not only as sources of information, but also as a means of psychological pressure on the population and the leadership of England and the USSR. In the USSR, to combat high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft of the Luftwaffe, the Mikoyan design bureau developed a series of fighter-interceptors. These aircraft had pressurized air-conditioned cabins, centrifugal supercharged engines and propellers specially designed for high-altitude flights. However, even the best of them on tests could not rise above 12,000 m, as a result of which they could not pose a particular danger to Hs 130E-0.

Specification Henschel Hs 130
Hs 130a-0/U6 Hs 130e-0
Crew 2 3
Wing span, m 29.00 33.00
Length, m 15.00 22,00
Height, m 4.90 5.60
Wing area, m² 81.40 85.00
Weight, kg
Loaded weight 11,190 16,660
Gross weight 11,690 18,100
2 PE DB-605B/603B, power, h.p. 2 × 1475 2 × 1750
Max speed, km/h 418/467* 605
Cruising speed, km/h 510
Service range, km 1,400 3,000
Service range with add fuel tanks, km 2,200 -
Service ceiling, m 15,500 15,000

* - with GM-1

Photo Description

Drawing Hs.130E-0

Hs 130A-0

Hs 130E-0 with DB-603B engines and pressurized cabin with the ability to fly up to 15,100 m.


  • Combat aircraft of the Luftwaffe /Edited by David Donald/
  • Aviation of Luftwaffe /Viktor Shunkov/
  • Encyclopedia of military engineering /Aerospace Publising/